I’m guessing I first had a Peanut Butter Marbled Bar in seventh grade or so. My dear friend Kate’s mom used to send them in her lunch from time to time and at some point I must have requested the recipe (even then I knew a good thing when I tasted it.) The original, wide ruled piece of notebook paper with Kate’s neat handwriting is still in the highly organized pile of recipes at my parent’s house; evidence of heavy use in its creased, crumpled and smudged state.
There’s a reason that recipe is so well worn; it’s absolutely delicious, requires no special equipment, no special ingredients, and, truthfully, not a lot of baking expertise. Peanut butter lovers take note this is a direct line to a dense peanut butter cookie swirled with melted chocolate – the perfect balance of salty and sweet – and it all gets baked in a 9x13 pan.
I made these for our holiday party a few weeks ago, and based on the lack of leftovers I can promise you that they will be popular for any Super Bowl gathering or bake sale on your horizon. Maybe pull out a few sheets of notebook paper for recipe requests and make thirteen-year old me proud.
Peanut Butter Marbled Bars (yield: 1 dozen 3 inch bars)
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
3/4 cup light brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter (smooth or crunchy, baker’s choice!)
2 eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
12 ounces (1 bag) semi-sweet chocolate chips
Pre heat the oven to 350 degrees.
In a medium bowl, cream together the softened butter, sugar, and brown sugar until light and fluffy. The butter should be softened to room temperature - not melted, definitely not cold. A hand mixer will help, but isn’t necessary. Next mix in the peanut butter until well combined. Stir in the eggs and vanilla, don’t over mix.
In a separate small bowl, sift together the all purpose flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir the dry ingredients into the peanut butter mixture until combined.
Spread the batter in a greased 9x13 inch pan. Sprinkle the semi sweet chocolate chips evenly across the top of the batter. Place the pan in 350° oven for 3-5 minutes until the chocolate chips are softened and beginning to melt.
Remove the pan from oven and run a knife through the softened chocolate chips create a marble pattern of thick swirls. Less is more here - the point is not to mix the chocolate in, but to have ribbons through each bar.
Return to the pan to oven and bake for another 20-25 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool thoroughly and cut into bars.
Adapted and rewritten from Nestle Toll House
Small Kitchen Friendly?
Yes! I used a glass 9x13 inch pan, 1 medium mixing bowl, 1 small bowl, dry measuring cups and spoons. I also used a wooden spoon, rubber spatula, and a butter knife.
I have Mike’s permission to make Peanut Butter Marbled Bars anytime, no seriously anytime. When I put out the platter of these as a dessert option for our party they went like proverbial hotcakes. And why wouldn’t they? Peanut butter and chocolate is a classic combination for a reason.